declutter for a big move

Decluttering for a big move with less stress

declutter for a big moveLess-stuff is all about small actions you can make towards an easier life. Sometimes though, small actions are not enough and if you only have a few weeks before a big move, decluttering 5 items a day will not work.

Here are some ideas for making a big move a little bit less stressful. Because I’m all about little easy actions I asked some other bloggers for their tips and ideas too.

Plan your time

How long have you got? A month? Two months? A fortnight? How many rooms have you got to pack away? Use some really simple maths to work out what you need to achieve each day, write yourself a list and stick to it.

Remember to plan in some lovely rewards because you will deserve them!

Kate said:Give yourself (realistic) goals or set yourself targets; like targetting a room per day or dedicating a certain amount of time to packing.”

Hayley said:Set yourself a time limit to do an area, so ‘I’ll clear out these three kitchen cupboards in an hour then watch an episode of XYZ/have a cup of tea/chocolate bar etc’. It really helps you focus! Also… if there’s a bit you’re struggling with, don’t be afraid to ask a friend to come help. A ruthless friend. They’ll really help question how much you need to keep something!”

Ting said:Declutter one room at a time. That sense of achievement at having cleared and packed the spare room will make it easier to do other rooms. Plus it gives you a room to put all the boxes into as you sort the next room and so on. Also, be sure to label up boxes with the correct room the items belong to but also write “essential” very clearly on boxes of things that you know you’ll need within the first 48 hours of moving so these can be unpacked first.”

Micaela said:Start well in advance to give yourself enough time to be methodical so you don’t end up throwing everything into boxes without thinking about it. Label boxes and mark the ones which have items in that you will need right away so you will be able to find them easily”.

Get prepared

You will need boxes, bubble wrap or newspaper, marker pens and tape to package stuff to move. You will also need boxes for things you are decluttering. Plan beforehand where your decluttering will go, can you get a charity shop to collect it or will you need to arrange to take it somewhere? Make it as easy as you can for yourself by getting everything you need ready in advance.

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Lindsay Lou said:Book your removal company and get them out for a quote. A good removal company will be able to tell you how quickly they can get you out and give tips on what to box. You would be surprised how many people don’t realise how long it takes to move everything out. Some companies offer a package were they will move you to your new house and remove any rubbish to the dump too so it is worth ringing around and getting them in to help.”

Melissa said:I put a box in each room so as I’m walking around I can gradually pack things away. Make sure to have enough boxes available well in advance. The average three bedroom house uses 100 boxes in a move and trying to find them at the last minute is a nightmare!”

Get rid of the rubbish first

Sweep through your home with a bin bag and a recycling box to get rid of anything that is clearly rubbish first. This will give you a bit more head space to deal with the more difficult things.

The 4 box approach

For each room that needs packing away have 4 cardboard boxes.

  • Things to keep
  • Things to donate
  • Things you are not sure about yet
  • Things you use daily


Anything that you want to keep needs to be packaged away in a box. Remember to mark the box with as much information about the contents as you can manage and label the box with it’s destination.

Laura said: “Get on with the packing. Get a box, open a cupboard and make three piles-one to bin, one to pack (that goes in the box obviously) and one of things you’ll need. So for example, bin that ornament you really don’t like, pack the candle, put to one side the tv remote. Packing whilst decluttering saves you doing it all twice.”


If you are sure you are happy to donate it, put it into a box, and get it out of sight as soon as possible. The longer it hangs around the more chance there is of you having second thoughts.

Quick declutter checklist:

You are pretty safe to get rid of anything that:

  • Makes you feel bad in any way
  • Has never worked properly
  • You will realistically never finish
  • Is 3 sizes too big or small

Have a ‘not sure’ box

One of the problems with decluttering quickly is that you can very easily make mistakes you regret. If you think this might happen have a box for things you are not sure about. The worst case scenario is that this box comes with you to the new home.

If you are feeling ruthless

Sometimes you just have to get rid of things:

Kate said: “Go through your wardrobe and be ruthless. If you’ve not fit into or chosen to wear something for over two years – donate it to charity! Take pictures of any sentimental items to make it easier to let go.”

Charlotte said:If you have not worn it in in the last 6 months get rid or if you didn’t wear it last summer get rid.”

Hannah said:  “If you haven’t worn an item or clothing in over a year- take it to a charity shop no matter how much you love it/ or give to loved ones” –


Sort out things that don’t need packing

Gemma said: “Go through your bank statement to identify all of your regular payments / DDs etc. so that you can prepare a list of addresses that you’ll need to change, plus set up a Royal Mail redirect service if you have your business related post coming to your house.”

Using your bank statement as a checklist for deliveries that need to be cancelled works well too.

Have a daily use box

Keep the things you use every day in a separate box because they will be the first things you look for in the new place. Toothbrushes, toothpaste, flannels, towels, washing up liquid, matches just in case… all these things can be a nightmare to find if they are packed with everything else. Pack a daily use box as if you were going camping and don’t forget to pack the kettle, tea, coffee and biscuits too.

Take soup

We moved every 3 years when I was a child, sometimes to different countries. My grandmother was an expert packer and the one thing she did that made moving so much easier was to make soup the night before. There is nothing quite like having a meal ready to heat up after a long days unpacking.

Happy moving! I hope it goes really smoothly for you.

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Thank you to the Official UK Bloggers Facebook group for the bloggers quotes and tips!